We all know vegetables are a food group we all should partake of daily. Some of us love that; others do not (my husband being one of those!) Thinking about this, I was drawn to an article in Natural Health 365 all about a study investigating what happens if Medicare and Medicaid actually jump on board with “prescription” veggies ~ they wanted to demonstrate what the effects would be if Medicaid and Medicare paid for some of the costs of “healthful foods.”

When I read this I had no idea that Medicare and Medicaid cover one in three Americans and account for 1 in every 4 dollars in the entire federal budget! Understanding that I realized what an impact this study could have; in fact, in the scenario of 30% of purchases of fruits and veggies as well as whole grains, nuts, seafood, and plant oils, the researchers found results of the prevention of nearly 3.3 million cases of heart disease and 120,000 causes of diabetes! And these potential effects are as good as if not BETTER than reimbursement of, say, anti-hypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs (both of which come with hefty price tags and nasty side effects).

The government would also reduce healthcare utilization, saving an estimated annual $40 billion and $100 billion, respectively. This research was published in the March 2019 edition of the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine….”Eat 5 servings of vegetables and call me in the morning”: major takeaways for reinvigorating your health (and reducing your dependency on the healthcare system).

With all of this information, what can we as consumers glean from these findings?

  1. Let food be your medicine ~ seriously! Let’s base our daily diet around more veggies.
  2. PREVENTION is more cost-effective than to TREAT it.
  3. Follow a healthy lifestyle by not smoking, exercising regularly, refrain from too much sitting, explore health practices such as acupuncture and natural supplements and keep a lean body weight.

This “microsimulation study” was done by a team of Boston, MA researchers at Tufts University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Kudos to pushing “food” instead of “drugs” that possibly “fix” problems rather than helping consumers prevent problems in the first place.

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